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Some days the boy feels numb, and sometimes happiness slips in. Sometimes he feels sad, sometimes angry, and other times he feels nothing, just flatness. . These poems are all companion poems to the novel, in Jason's voice, with Cora and . wesatimunogo.cf recording of Holly Thompson reading from Orchards.
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Leaving their dens, foxes "sniff out birds and voles" and firefly lights blink off and on. Thompson's languorous, cadenced lines poetically capture the light-infused stillness of this special time of day by repeating both the word "light" at the ends of many phrases as well as the phrase "twilight the low light"; the design enhances the effect by carefully positioning the spare text on the page for maximum effectiveness.

Betton's realistic, double-page illustrations, in watercolor, pastel, and colored pencil, showcase animals, insects, and birds mentioned in the text in their native habitats, active and vibrant against the luminous lavenders, pinks, blues, and yellows of the twilight sky. A useful note "About Twilight" explains the period of low light "after sunset and before sunrise" when crepuscular animals are active, listing those visible in North America and featured in the text and in close-ups. A lovely, lyrical visual and verbal exploration of the wonders of twilight.

The verse text and luminous watercolor, colored-pencil, and pastel illustrations focus on a series of animals that can be seen along the way: The bats hunt for insects, while a rabbit flees from the fox, and the fireflies flash to attract mates. The title suits the book well, as the words have a chant-like quality, and in the artwork, the sky gradually dims from radiant rose and gold hues to deepening shades of purple at nightfall. Each set of two three-line verses leads into the next, mentioning the animal featured on the following two-page spread.

Read aloud, the poetry has a quiet, mesmerizing quality. The appended note explains that at twilight, when neither nocturnal nor diurnal creatures can see well, animals adapted to dim light emerge.


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A lovely science picture book. The lyrical text introduces readers to various animals including egrets, deer, rabbits, fox, fireflies, skunks, and june bugs out and about at twilight as the illustrations depict them and tangentially follows the humans' progress as they wend their way home. Betton's beautifully realistic watercolor spreads fully capture the colors of twilight and the wonderful details of the animals while never quite losing sight of the family walking home in the background.

Thompson's lyrical text cleverly mentions a new animal at the end of each spread then in the following two pages expounds on it. This stylistic repetition is very effective and also opens the door for an effortlessly interactive storytime. An easy-to-understand "About Twilight" page is appended, in which Thompson explains what twilight is; the differences between diurnal, nocturnal, and crepuscular animals; and lists the creatures in the book.

Perfect for storytime or individual sharing. A must-have for most libraries. Thompson's lyrical text directs attention to the animals that become active at this time of day — the "crepuscular creatures emerge" — with smoothly rhythmic repetition that reads aloud beautifully.

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As deer graze, swallows skim, foxes sniff and bats swerve, each page turn leads to a new creature and heightens our appreciation of this calm yet intensely busy twilight time. The illustrations, rich with gold and rose dusky tints, showcase each animal and its setting with both realism and softness across double spread pages. The family wends their way home slowly, tucked in as a careful through-line to emphasize our environmental interconnectedness. The deepening sky colors conclude with purpley nightfall — making this title a perfect, calming bedtime selection.

An author's note clearly explains what twilight is and gives more information about the intriguing animals encountered in the story. In a Japanese seaside neighborhood lives Jason Parker: If only everyone around him would let him. This is a beautifully spare novel in verse about one boy's life-a story that will resonate with anyone who has ever struggled to fit in. Book cover and interior illustrations by Matt Huynh. Or you can watch the webinar on Vimeo.

These poems are all companion poems to the novel, in Jason's voice, with Cora and various other characters making occasional cameo appearances.

3-year-old recites poem, "Litany" by Billy Collins

The series features a poem and photo posted each day during National Poetry Month--poems that feature the Kamakura, Japan, setting for the book on Holly Thompson's Hatbooks Blog. Do you know the world in your town? Try writing your own NoticePoems!

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REVIEWS "Told through the eyes of a middle school American boy who is living in Japan, students have a compelling account of issues ever present in society today and how to deal with them: In her third verse novel, Japan-based writer Holly Thompson tackles the topical issue of bullying. Her protagonist, likable American sixth-grader Jason Parker, struggles to fit in at his Japanese elementary school after moving from America to a seaside community on the Shonan coast in Kanagawa Prefecture.

However, things go from challenging to overwhelming when he is assigned to sit with the cattiest girls and most pugnacious boys in his class. The teacher turns a blind eye as the level of surreptitious bullying escalates, and Jason has to rely on his own wits and inner strength to get by, drawing on his aikido training for inspiration. Jason realizes that employing American-style justice will only exacerbate the situation and, in the end, his strongest ally turns out to be his plucky younger sister. An eclectic cast of supporting characters, some of whom are misfits in their own way, add interest to the story.

Despite the heavy underlying themes, Thompson adds dollops of humor in the right measure and the fast-paced plot will have her young audience reading furiously right up until the satisfying and realistic conclusion. As a foreigner, he stands out and is relentlessly bullied by his classmates while the teacher turns a blind eye. His only refuge is in the practice of Aikido, where he learns to center himself. The themes of bullying, feeling isolated, not fitting in, and striving to change the system are familiar landscape for Thompson, and fans of her teen books—Orchards and The Language Inside , both Random —will relish her first novel for younger readers.

The plot builds slowly at first as the characters and setting are established. Readers' patience will be rewarded as the tension mounts between Jason and the bullies who torment him, leading to a heart-pounding climax when the games almost go too far. The free-verse format suits the story well, conveying Jason's emotions powerfully in few words, allowing readers to fill in the unsaid and mirroring the way Jason uses stoicism as a survival method at school. Those with some knowledge of Japanese culture will feel at ease with the setting right away, and those looking for a window to another culture will be intrigued by the realistic depiction of Japanese school life.

Thompson provides a helpful glossary and cultural notes at the end, and graceful ink brush illustrations add to the atmosphere. They taunt, punch, and kick him, even whacking him with a broom handle, ostensibly for getting a word wrong or having an accent.


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The text subtly yet steadily ratchets up suspense by using line breaks and spacing instead of periods; the free verse hums with a sense of impending danger. Is it the bullies that threaten or something natural, like a coastal typhoon? Well crafted and emotionally compelling. Jason would be in sixth grade back home, but he is fully immersed in the local public school, where, despite his excellent language skills, he sticks out like a sore thumb, attracting a vicious group of bullies.

The teachers turn a blind eye as Jason suffers and the tension mounts between him and his tormentors. Meanwhile, his mother takes on extra English students, struggling to find tuition for the local American school, but will that day come soon enough? And how far will the bullies go in their quest to disgrace the American boy? To survive, Jason must rely on his own ability to listen to others, his powers of quiet observation, and, above all, his personal courage.

The closing glossary is also helpful. Print and share the extensive guide created for classrooms, book groups, readers and writers. Included are discussion questions, essay topics, poetry prompts, extension activities and service project ideas. Emma feels out of place in the U. There, Emma meets Samnang, another volunteer, who assists elderly Cambodian refugees.

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Delacorte, The Language Inside is a verse novel rich in language both spoken and unspoken and poetry that crosses boundaries to create a story layered with love, loss, movement and words. A sensitive and compelling read that will inspire teens to contemplate how they can make a difference. This is an artistic picture of devastation, fragility, bonds and choices. But Thompson, working in a free-verse style that becomes a seamless piece of a world imbued with poetry, weaves them together skillfully.

She and her cliquey friends said some thoughtless things to the girl. But as the summer unfolds, Kana gets to know her relatives, Japan, and village culture, and she begins to process the pain and guilt she feels about the tragedy back home. Then news about a friend sends her world spinning out of orbit all over again. This novel in verse gives voice to the complex emotions of a girl whose anger, confusion, and regret transform into newfound compassion and a sense of purpose. Thompson has crafted an exquisite, thought-provoking story of grief and healing that will resonate with teen readers and give them much to discuss.

Understated yet potent verse. Teens who enjoy learning about other cultures will relish Thompson's ability to evoke the sights, smells, an tastes of Japan, while poetry fans will enjoy the novel's unique format. The verse lends itself to a quick, but powerful read; the novel is packed with events that keep readers turning the pages.

Orchards is a novel that one wants to return to again after the last word. The contemporary issues that conflate teen relationships have universal significance for all teenagers, regardless of race or ethnicity. Stunning storytelling wrapped in remarkable poetry. A must read for middle schoolers and those who work with them. The Tomo Reader's Guide: Writing Activities and Discussion Questions for Tomo: This collection for readers age 12 and up features thirty-six stories—including ten in translation and two graphic narratives—contributed by authors and artists from around the world, all of whom share a connection to Japan.

English-language readers will be able to connect with Japan through a wide variety of unique stories, including tales of friendship, mystery, fantasy, science fiction and history. Visit the Tomo Blog at tomoanthology. Friendship Through Fiction--An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories "A big but consistently engaging pro bono anthology of authors with direct or indirect Japanese 'heritage or experience. With the exception of Graham Salisbury and Alan Gratz, most of the authors, many of whom write for adults, will be new to American teens.

There is sadness and suicide, loss and, yes, the tsunami. But these stories equally cover everything important to the younger generation as entrance exams, ghosts, J-pop, love, divorce, baseball, gamers, ninjas and dragons coordinate to form a whole.

Weekend Poem: In the Orchard by Muriel Stuart

Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, the tsunami, earthquake and nuclear disaster. She died in The white violet is scented on its stalk, the sea-violet fragile as agate, lies fronting all the wind among the torn shells on the sand-bank. The greater blue violets flutter on the hill, but who would change for these who would change for these one root of.

I saw the first pear as it fell— the honey-seeking, golden-banded, the yellow swarm was not more fleet than I, spare us from loveliness and I fell prostrate crying: Leave this field blank. The honey-seeking paused not, the air thundered their song, and I alone was prostrate. O rough-hewn god of the orchard, I bring you an offering— do you, alone unbeautiful, son of the god, spare us from loveliness: This poem is in the public domain.